Answers to some of the common questions asked about NAIF, what we do and how we operate.
NAIF is a Commonwealth Government agency established to facilitate economic growth by lending to infrastructure projects and businesses in northern Australia and helping to catalyse private sector investment.
NAIF’s record to date includes partnering with projects in a broad range of key industry sectors in the Northern Australia economy, including resources, energy, transport, agriculture and aquaculture, education, tourism and social infrastructure.
Of particular importance to NAIF is ensuring each project we support delivers significant public benefit, Indigenous engagement and economic growth.
You can find out more here.
NAIF can fund projects in parts of Queensland and Western Australia above the Tropic of Capricorn, as well as the whole of the Northern Territory. We can also fund projects in the areas of Gladstone, Carnarvon, Exmouth, Meekatharra and Wiluna.
Projects outside these boundaries may be eligible if they produce significant benefits to Northern Australia.
We can finance projects and businesses across a range of sectors including mining and resources, agriculture and aquaculture, transport (including airports, ports, rail and logistics), energy, water, education, tourism, social infrastructure, healthcare, telecommunications and manufacturing.
NAIF places particular importance on each project delivering significant public benefit, Indigenous engagement and economic growth.
You can read more about our projects here
Prior to contacting NAIF, please review the information listed here.
If you wish your project to be considered for investment by NAIF, there are criteria to be met and assessments to be made before a project can qualify for support. The mandatory criteria (more details can be found here) are:
- Your project must involve the construction or material enhancement of infrastructure (see below for what constitutes infrastructure);
- Be of public benefit;
- Be located in, or have significant benefit for, Northern Australia;
- Demonstrate an ability to repay the loan; and
- Have an Indigenous Engagement Strategy.
For what constitutes infrastructure under the NAIF Mandate see here. Also see for guidance FAQ titled ‘What projects/sectors can you finance?’.
We work with project proponents to offer a range of flexible debt financing products on commercial terms.
These range from lending up to 100% of the debt requirements for a project or business, tailored repayments, longer tenor, interest capitalisation arrangements or, where appropriate, lower interest rates than from commercial lenders.
Operating in northern Australia, we take into account the unique circumstances of the region. Our commercially focused investment teams work closely with proponents to structure loan deals in the most appropriate way.
Being a Government agency, we also ensure careful stewardship of public funds. Central to this is ensuring that proponents demonstrate an ability to repay loans.
Please note that NAIF cannot provide equity, grants or funding for feasibility studies.
Each project is considered on a case by case basis.
However, due to the level of due diligence work required by NAIF including additional work required in relation to assessing public benefit, documentation and the development of an Indigenous engagement strategy, NAIF primarily focused on providing loans of $15m and above.
This is to ensure the costs involved in the assessment and approval process are not outweighed by the benefits potentially being provided by a NAIF Loan.
NAIF does not provide grants. NAIF’s financing is in the form of commercial loans.
NAIF is unable to provide equity funding. NAIF’s financing is in the form of commercial loans.
NAIF uses a range of flexible “financing tools” on a case-by-case basis, depending on the industry sector and what tools are best suited to support the individual project and/or business. These tools can include, where necessary for the project:
- Longer loan tenor compared to commercial financiers (i.e. up to 30 years)
- Interest capitalisation
- Tailored amortisation/repayment profiles
- Fixed rate lending
- Concessional interest rates
- Subordination to other debt financiers
Concessionality for each project is considered on a case by case basis.
The level of any concession is tailored to take account of the extent of public benefit that is forecast to be generated by the project.
NAIF works with a range of project proponents. If you can show you meet NAIF’s mandatory criteria, you are welcome to contact us (via email at firstname.lastname@example.org) to express an interest in working with NAIF. However, noting the required due diligence information and associated resource commitment to NAIF’s assessment and approval process, our preference is for loans of $15m and above.
The NAIF Board is responsible for making Investment Decisions.
We apply commercial rigour to all Investment Decisions, which are made independently of government.
Following a successful NAIF Board Investment Decision, both NAIF’s Commonwealth Minister and the relevant State or Territory must confirm their support (non-veto) before a Project can receive NAIF funding.
NAIF will not proceed with its assessment of a transaction or with making an Investment Decision if the relevant State or Territory Government provides written notification that financial assistance should not be provided to the project or if the responsible Commonwealth Minister determines that financial assistance should not be provided.
The State or Territory is the government lender on record (not NAIF or the Commonwealth).
NAIF will review and assess information as soon as it is available from the proponent.
The NAIF Board typically meets every six weeks to consider Investment Decisions.
In general terms, the NAIF assessment process is broadly aligned with that which a proponent would work through with a commercial bank or other private sector financer.
No. The NAIF Board is responsible for making Investment Decisions after the due diligence processes have been completed.
Following a successful Investment Decision by the NAIF Board, both NAIF’s Commonwealth Minister and the relevant State or Territory must confirm their support (non-veto) and a number of other conditions to funding will need to be satisfied before a Project can receive NAIF funding.
Following an Investment Decision, both NAIF’s Commonwealth Minister and the relevant State or Territory must confirm their support (non-veto) before a Project can receive NAIF funding.
NAIF then works with the proponent and the relevant State and Territory to finalise loan documents. The State or Territory is the government lender on record (not the NAIF or the Commonwealth).
Any conditions of the loan must be met before funds will be made available.
In addition to satisfying the NAIF mandatory criteria and other legislative requirements, before we can provide NAIF funding for a project, all projects must be in compliance with all relevant Commonwealth, State and Territory laws. Projects must also comply with the Commonwealth’s Australian Industry Participation Plan Policy (this requirement applies to NAIF loans of $20m or more) and with the Commonwealth’s Work Health and Safety Accreditation Scheme where applicable.
NAIF works with project proponents as partners throughout the assessment and approval process. NAIF will discuss with you how we will publicise your project post Investment Decision. Our general approach will be to work with you on publishing a case study of your project and a related news story on the NAIF website.
Please note that within 30 business days of the NAIF Board making a Investment Decision, we are obliged by our Investment Mandate to publish information about the Investment Decision on our website, subject to commercial confidentiality.